Arkansas isn’t just bad on the road this season.
They entered Tuesday night’s game at Missouri 1-7 in the SEC in road games. Those seven losses came by an average of more than 13 points. They lost by 21 at South Carolina. They lost by 18 at Vanderbilt. They scored a combined 103 points in those two games. The one road win the Razorbacks do have? At Auburn.
Missouri, on the other hand, is quite similar to Arkansas. While they struggle on the road, the Tigers are awesome at home, which is why is should come as no surprise to you that Missouri smacked the Razorbacks around during their visit to Columbia. What is mildly surprising, however, is that Arkansas didn’t even put up a fight. They were lost 93-63. They were down 48-22 at halftime. It was an embarrassment — or a statement, depending on which side your loyalties lie — especially when you consider the fact that Mike Anderson’s tenure at Missouri came to an abrupt end two years ago.
Anderson was booed lustily during the game. I have a feeling that Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers took just that much more enjoyment out of Tuesday’s mollywhopping.
Here’s the thing that just doesn’t make sense: Arkansas was playing for their tournament lives. Thanks to the win over Florida last month and the win over Kentucky last weekend, the ugly status of fellow bubble teams meant that Arkansas still had a chance to play their way into the dance. Winning on the road against the second-best team in the SEC would have been a great way to make a statement to the tournament selection committee.
They want teams to separate themselves, and given the fact that Tennessee losing to Georgia and Ole Miss losing to South Carolina and Mississippi State in the span of a week hasn’t come close to eliminating them from the bubble conversation, it shouldn’t really be that difficult to create that separation. Boise State did it when they beat Colorado State. Creighton did it by beating Wichita State. Cal did it by beating everyone over the last six weeks.
They did it by losing by 30 points at Missouri.
That’s the easiest way to get yourself onto the wrong side of the bubble.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.
From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:
Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.
2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.
3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.
4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.
5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).
CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.
Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.
In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.
And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.
Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.
And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.
This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.